We are moved to express our concern regarding the statewide and national anti-Muslim and anti-immigration rhetoric in recent weeks. In this new year, we call on our elected officials to speak out as builders of peace. Our open letter is posted in its entirety on our church website, redeemer-lutheran-church.org, and is in accord with several recent statements of the presiding bishop of our denomination, the 4 million member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
As members of a Christian community, we seek peace and justice and are reminded of the command to “love one another.” The story we live by declares that all people are children of God; we are connected with one another as brothers and sisters, regardless of differences. We believe it is imperative to build bridges between various communities, including our Muslim brothers and sisters, and that we must assist Syrian refugees who are fleeing the same terrorism we hope to avoid.
Operating out of fear only deepens suspicions and divisions and is the antithesis of long-term peace. Therefore, we are speaking out publicly against the divisive speech that is so prominent in current public discourse. In addition, we support the bringing of refugees to our country and state, and the promotion of understanding between the Muslim community and others. May the new year bring a renewed commitment and care for those who are threatened or marginalized.
Rev. Rebecca Liberty
Rev. Elaine Hewes
Redeemer Lutheran Church
As a card-carrying liberal, I want to comment on Michael Cianchette’s Jan. 2 BDN column, “What to watch for in politics in 2016.”
Cianchette regularly presents a very balanced and thoughtful analysis of Maine and national politics. He lays out his logic for all to evaluate and draws conclusions that sometimes agree with — and, importantly, at times conflict with — his own political preferences. All in a well-written column.
I often disagree with Cianchette’s preferences and positions, but his sound reporting and reasonable opining are to be commended.
The new year has finally arrived, and already the proponents of increasing mass immigration are inundating readers with the rhetoric of how immigration is vital for Maine’s economy, such as Linda Silka’s Jan. 1 BDN OpEd, “What Maine can learn from how Lowell, Massachusetts, welcomed immigrants, rebuilt its city.”
Instead of increasing legal immigration quotas, I would like to propose an alternate solution. America should impose a comprehensive immigration moratorium until national unemployment is lowered to 1 percent and poverty to 5 percent. Furthermore, those figures would have to be maintained for 10 subsequent years. Low-income Mainers should not be forced to compete for scarce jobs and safety-net benefits with droves of newcomers.
It is immoral to deny working-class American citizens their birthright to the American Dream.
Silka points out that “Maine has a long tradition of welcoming newcomers.” I believe the time has come for Maine to become a welcoming location for Mainers once again.
The saga of Mark Eves being selected and then rightfully removed as president of the nonprofit Good Will-Hinckley has gone on long enough. The Kennebec County district attorney and state attorney general have ruled Gov. Paul LePage did not break any laws. Maybe both should be investigating how such an unqualified candidate was selected in the first place? Pure and simple, Eves was caught with his hands in the cookie jar.
With all the very serious issues confronting our state, any legislators who insist on wasting more time on this issue are guilty of grandstanding and shamefully neglecting the much more important problems they were elected to address.
Carlton D. Pratt